advertisement
03 January 2013

The evolution of tree-dwellers

In human evolution, walking on two legs is a big deal. It marks the debut of humans as animals who live on the ground instead of in trees.

0

In human evolution, walking on two legs is a big deal. It marks the debut of humans as animals who live on the ground instead of in trees and researchers now have evidence of when this change took place

A new study suggests that "Lucy," a member of a prehistoric primate species that appeared about 3.5 million years ago in Africa, lived in both worlds. Lucy, the researchers believe, could both climb trees and walk on the ground.

Until now, the ankles and feet of the Australopithecus afarensis indicated that the species wasn't able to climb trees easily, the study authors noted in the new report. But the researchers, led by Dartmouth College associate professor of anthropology Nathaniel Dominy, looked at modern humans in Africa and the Philippines and found that they could effectively climb trees.

This dual ability has to do with the capacity of some of the people studied to bend their feet upward toward the shin, beyond the range of motion normally seen in modern humans, helping them to climb trees, the study authors explained.

The findings suggested that hunter-gatherers like Lucy could both climb trees and walk.

The study is published in the current issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more:

Evolution driven by the environment

Human evolution slower

More information

For more on Lucy, visit pbs.org.

(Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.)

 
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Get rid of lice! »

Toddler dies after DIY lice treatment Back-to-school head lice Comb out head lice

20 head lice myths debunked

Head lice are tiny, wingless insects that live in human hair. They cannot fly, jump or swim and are spread by head-to-head contact. Check out this infographic to learn more.

About gout »

Treatment of Gout Signs and symptoms of gout What is Gout?

Is your diet causing gout?

Suffering from gout? There's a lot you can do to prevent this horribly painful condition. Start by cutting out these 14 foods.